TROPHY TIME Nicole Kidman impressed everyone last year with her work in ”Moulin Rouge” and ”The Others” — everyone except her peers in the Screen Actors Guild, who surprisingly failed to cite her for either film in yesterday’s list of nominees for the SAG Awards. Considered a reliable barometer of Academy Award prospects because many of the actors voting will also vote on the Oscars, the SAGs also snubbed ”Ali”’s Will Smith, who had at least been a contender in all the other year-end awards. In Smith’s place, alongside such expected nominees as Russell Crowe (”A Beautiful Mind”), Denzel Washington (”Training Day”), and Tom Wilkinson (”In the Bedroom”), were the ignored-until-now Kevin Kline (”Life as a House”) and Sean Penn (”I Am Sam”). Instead of Kidman, lead actress nominees included such favorites as ”Bedroom”’s Sissy Spacek, ”Monster’s Ball”’s Halle Berry, ”Iris”’ Judi Dench, and surprises Renée Zellweger (”Bridget Jones’s Diary”) and ”Mind”’s Jennifer Connelly.
Connelly’s role had been considered by everyone to be a supporting, not a lead role; in fact, she won a Golden Globe in the supporting category last week. Apparently, Universal made a clerical error on the ballot and submitted her in the wrong category. Given that she can’t win SAG’s supporting actress category, the mistake may hurt her Oscar chances. ”While this is an unfortunate circumstance, we couldn’t be more pleased for Ms. Connelly that her performance has received such strong support from her fellow actors,” said a Universal spokesperson.
The Guild also recognized TV acting, giving four nominations each to ”The Sopranos,” ”The West Wing,” and ”Everybody Loves Raymond.” Cited three times were ”Sex and the City,” ”Will & Grace,” and ”Frasier.” ”NYPD Blue”’s Dennis Franz was nominated for lead actor, as he has been in each of the SAG Awards’ seven previous years. Ed Asner will receive a lifetime acheivement award. All other winners will be named during the ceremony, airing live on TNT March 10 from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
REEL DEALS Years ago, Universal tried to get a neophyte screenwriter named Aaron Sorkin to update the 1966 crime caper comedy ”Gambit,” which starred Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine. But then his TV pilots ”Sports Night” and ”The West Wing” got picked up, and he never wrote the script. Now, Universal is hoping to enlist Joel and Ethan Coen to adapt the screenplay, with Hugh Grant targeted to star. The Coen brothers may have a little time on their hands; they’re about to direct George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones in their original comedy ”Intolerable Cruelty,” but they have to wait for Clooney to finish shooting ”Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” first.
The Coens are also producing a comedy for Dimension called ”Bad Santa,” about two con men who dress as Kris Kringle and an elf to rob a string of shopping malls. Directing is ”Ghost World”’s Terry Zwigoff….